Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

NYC school's amateur radio club helps relay messages to and from Puerto Rico

Most of Puerto Rico is still without power following Hurricane Maria, so it's difficult for people on the island to communicate with friends and family in the United States, but a group of radio-loving New York City teenagers is using their skills to pass along 25-word messages that are then displayed on large boards in the center of towns for residents to check out.

The amateur radio club at the Garden School in Queens started just last year, and it now has 20 members. They typically compete in contests but have gotten plenty of real-world experience since Maria devastated Puerto Rico last month. People can send an email to their station, K2GSG, and the students craft the "radiogram," or message, and send it. There are about 24 amateur radio operators in Puerto Rico working with law enforcement and first responders to relay radiograms, and messages are also being sent back from Puerto Rico to the station.

After seeing what the club can do, other students have expressed interest in joining. Senior Lea Medina is one of just a few members who is licensed on her own to relay messages, and she's enjoyed doing her part to help with relief efforts. "There is not a better feeling than being able to make someone smile, or make sure that they feel safe," she told DNA Info. Catherine Garcia